Tata Steel Chess: Viswanathan Anand to face Nepomniachtchi

Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi is one of the two leaders, along with China's Ding Liren, going into the sixth round.

File image of Viswanathan Anand.   -  PTI

Viswanathan Anand will find it tough to break his sequence of four draws when he faces Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi, one of the two leaders, once the action resumes in the sixth round after Thursday’s rest day.

Anand, who started with a victory, has not looked in any trouble so far. The 49-year old has wisely conserved his energy considering the demands of this 13-round competition.

Vidit Gujarati has been very impressive so far. Making his debut in the premier event by virtue of winning the Challengers section last year, Vidit gallantly made amends for allowing Magnus Carlsen to dictate the terms for the better part of their 131-move draw. Thereafter, he could have recorded back-to-back wins had he not let Vladimir Fedoseev off the hook in the fifth round.

In the Challengers section, young R. Praggnanandhaa seems to have got over the early blues with four successive draws. He is joint-10th with two points. The teenager’s second-round rival, second seed Vladislav Kovalev and favourite Anton Korobov lead with 3.5 points. In the next
round, he plays German Elizabeth Paehtz, who is also on two points.

Sixth-round pairings: Viswanathan Anand (3)-Ian Nepomniachtchi (Rus, 3.5); Vidit Gujarati (3)-Samuel Shankland (USA, 2); Magnus Carlsen (Nor, 3)-Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Aze, 2.5); Jan-Krzysztof Duda (Pol, 2.5)-Anish Giri (Ned, 3); Ding Liren (Chn, 3.5)-Teimour Radjabov (Aze, 2.5); Richard Rapport (Hun, 2)-Vladimir Kramnik (Rus, 1.5); Jorden van Foreest (Ned, 1)-Vladimir Fedoseev (Rus, 2)